Tuesday, July 31, 2007

what's in that veggie burger?

read a rundown of mysterious ingredients in your favorite non-meat patty.

Monday, July 30, 2007

1/3 whole wheat

in theory, i am in complete support of whole grains. refined bad. whole good. except i don't really care for brown rice. and a good loaf of ciabatta is close to heaven. and whole wheat can be kind of heavy... ...etc. on sunday, i made a compromise and went for two meals with 1/3 whole wheat treats. 1/3 whole waffles with blackberry sauce yum! i really preferred this with a little whole pastry flour for texture and wholesomeness. it felt like i was doing something good for myself by eating it. sometimes waffles, even tasty waffles, can seem like a mistake. not these! 1/3 whole wheat tortillas behold: the black bean, rainbow chard, sweet bell pepper concoction i'll call a "late july fajita stack." yes, i just made that up. yes, i'm a genius. the tortillas may have suffered from letting the dough sit too long unattended, but not from the percentage of whole wheat flour. the whole shebang was flavorful (love those sauteed sweet bell peppers), very local, and healthy, too. extreeeeme! late july fajita stack breakdown: black beans: homemade, from bulk tortillas: homemade, with local wheat flour, bulk white flour, and vegetable shortening rainbow chard, bell peppers, onions, garlic: farmer's market green salsa that drove me to drink: tomatillos, evil jalapeno, garlic: all from farmer's market fried eggs: farmer's market that's a pretty local meal. i have to admit that, nearing the end of local food month, my eye is starting to stray toward foreign cheeses. what's your favorite food extravagance?

Sunday, July 29, 2007


have you ever seen fresh baby corn before?
still in the husk. that's something new for me. i've never eaten baby corn that i can recall - it kind of creeps me out. maybe i'll get some next week and take the plunge. very little cooking went on last night, and no blogging, because of a painful dose of capsaicin + nearly healed poison ivy + poor treatment plan. i swear, i'm not a wuss. a little sting doesn't bother me; this was a prolonged, searing burn we're talking about. my pain is your gain. here's what i learned from the whole situation: 1. just because you've never had a bad reaction to a jalapeno before doesn't mean there isn't a nasty pepper out there with your name on it. any individual member of a species of pepper can vary on the scoville scale. don't get cocky! 2. when your poison ivy is almost healed that doesn't mean it's...you know...completely healed. 3. yes, cool water takes away the burn. stay away from the water! the oils can/will spread! resist the momentary relief! 4. either rubbing alcohol or milk works. i'm not sure which, because i poured rubbing alcohol all over my hands, then a few minutes later, soaked them in milk. after maybe half an hour, all was back to normal. baking soda didn't help. 5. it's nice to have a husband who will go get falafel when you're temporarily out of commission. now the question is: how to prevent this in the future? i'm not going to go buy throwaway plastic gloves. any ideas for reusable hand protection?

Friday, July 27, 2007

npr news story on demand for local produce

take a listen. just for the record, i'm not encouraging you to run out and buy "local" tomatoes from wal-mart.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

you get what you pay for,

i'm reading It's a Long Road to a Tomato by keith stewart, an organic farmer in upstate new york who sells at the union square greenmarket and is particularly well-known for his garlic. on the eve of a prospective vote (and veto?) of the latest farm bill, here are a couple notes for you:
Cornell researcher, David Pimmental...estimates that we pay an annual $10 billion price tag for environmental and health costs associated with pesticide use. At the human level, Pimental [sic] has calculated that pesticide use results in 10,000 to 15,000 cases of cancer, annually, and 300,000 incedents of food poisoning. When you pay $1.99 for five pounds of carrots, it may feel like you're getting a bargain. But it's a phantom bargain...Under out current system of farming, you'll be paying the balance at a later date - on your tax bill or at your doctor's office.

after watching sicko this weekend, it seems like the united states government does a very good job of helping huge, neccessary industries deliver poor product at a gigantic profit. let's see: agriculture? health care. oil comes to mind.

guess i shouldn't complain. after all, it's my government. maybe i ought to help do something about it.

bloomington news

hi bloomies, be on the lookout for this on saturday or on your next trip to bloomingfoods. from the herald-times:
The Local Growers’ Guild, a cooperative of small farms in southern and central Indiana, recently released its 2007 Local Growers Guide. The 40-page booklet includes information about where, how and why to purchase local food. The focus is on the area within a 100-mile radius of Bloomington. The free guide includes information on farms, restaurants, grocery stores, Community Supported Agriculture programs and farmers’ markets that offer local foods. The guide is available at the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market on Saturday and will be distributed through area businesses including Oliver Winery and Bloomingfoods. Donations are accepted. For more information, e-mail the guild at localgrowers@localgrowers.org or call 812-345-1592.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

feeling linky?

noimpact man has a great post today outlining how to eat with the lowest impact on the environment. he's been talking about food a lot lately, so scroll down for some other interesting thoughts. nope, we're not giving up ice cream or beer any time soon.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


tonight's meal was inspired not by a recent animated feature, but by what looked good at the tuesday farmer's market: one big red pepper, and some small eggplants. picked up a couple of organic zucchinis as a matter of course, and cherry tomatoes made it into the mix. peaches and corn were purchased, too, but didn't end up in the skillet. that huge red pepper was only 75 cents! the tiny eggplants were another story, but i just couldn't resist. what can i say? i love stuff that's mini. and they were gorgeous. we don't even eat eggplant more than once a year or so, but these guys were just too enticing.

a classic ratatouille comprises eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper, tomatoes, garlic, onions, and herbes de provence. mine had all the above, minus the herbs, plus a little basalmic vinegar, and served with spinach linguine. look how pretty.

after this point, i added the basalmic and some pasta water, let it cook down a little, then added both halved and whole cherry tomatoes. very tasty. just enough basalmic to enhance, but not overwhelm.
smitten kitten has a ratatouille recipe for those of you who are confident in your knife skills or own a mandoline. yes, hers is prettier.
here's to the season of cheap red peppers. may it bring you many roasted delights.

Monday, July 23, 2007

i could get into this local thing.

i love you, breadmaker. let me count the ways:
1. you make practically no mess
2. measuring out ingredients takes practically no time
3. you make better bread than i ever did by hand
4. your timer makes weekday bread a snap 5. you don't heat up the house.
first loaf: whole wheat, made with wheat flour from the farmer's market. i made several fatal (or so i thought) mistakes with this dough, but, by the powers of the breadmaker, it came out anyway. not perfect, but real good. it did its job holding up my homemade veggie burgers...
...the recipe for which was from vegetarian times, but i won't recommend it. too much oatmeal. i love oatmeal, but not baked and placed on a bun. not nearly mushroom-y enough.
today i zipped home for lunch, washed some dishes, put in the ingredients for this loaf...
...put on the timer, and it was done after i got about 5 steps into the house after quitting time. no kidding.
how's your garden coming? i have about 324286 green tomatoes and peppers, but nothing to harvest. one squash blossom. last night, i just pulled some spinach, lettuce, and strawberries, which sounds more like an early june harvest than late july.
i'm getting antsy for my first very own tomato.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

homemade tortillas

okay, first things first. check out my new breadmaker! it's not really new, but new to me via freecycle. it's my first successfully freecycled item, and, after a little unfruitful putzing, i'm convinced that it works. yay! fresh-baked bread without heating up the entire house with the oven! bread on weekdays! when i get some successful recipes, i'll send them along. if you're not a freecycler, consider checking it out. where else can you get a breadmaker from a stranger just by asking for one? or get rid of an extra to someone who is happy to have it? (don't say goodwill. this is "broken," and they'd have tossed it.)

last night, i used a tortilla recipe from the local paper for dinner, having been pleasantly surprised at how easy flour tortillas seemed after researching corn tortillas. those sound like a PAIN. my flour tortillas weren't perfect, but perfect the first time just isn't my way. they were, however, delicious. and now i have another way to use up that vegetable shortening i got for the faux oreos!

Flour Tortillas 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 tsps salt *(i'd double this next time, i think. or, you know, actually measure it.) 2 1/2 tbs vegetable shortening 1/3 cup warm water In a food processor, combine the flour and salt. Pulse several times to combine. Add the shortening, then process for about 10 seconds to thoroughly combine. With the processor running, drizzle in the water and process another 10 seconds. Don't process too much, or the dough will get tough.

The dough should look powdery and dry and will not have come together. It should hold together when pinched.

Use your hands to ball the dough together and transfer it to a clean work surface.

Form the dough into a log and divide into 4 pieces for big tortillas or 6 for smaller tortillas. One at a time, place each piece between sheets of parchment or waxed paper. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough. (I didn't do this, but it's probably a good idea. Extra flour dries them out.) Heat a dry flat griddle or large skillet over medium-high heat. One at a time, place each tortilla on the griddle. Cook until the tortilla just begins to puff up and the bottom has a few small scorch marks, about 30 seconds. Flip and cook another 20 to 30 seconds. Wrap the tortilla in a towel to keep warm. Repeat the process with remaining dough. Serve immediately.

i'd like to serve these as fajitas with tofu and sauteed vegetables. or with eggs in the morning. or any time at all, really. they were pretty simple. i'd cook them a little bit longer on each side - you can see semi-raw edges on the pictures. they were still good and easy, and with ingredients i controlled, and no plastic packaging to throw away. thumbs up all around. maybe next time i'll do half whole wheat flour, too.

Friday, July 20, 2007

eco-friends: help!

okay, so this isn't food-related at all, but i need help. i'm down to the dregs of my pressed foundation, and want to buy new makeup that is: a: cruelty-free b: organic c: available in refills d: pretty e: not a bazillion dollars googling this has only overwhelmed my beauty-challenged brain. anyone out there have any suggestions?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

sustainable waistlines

yikes. did you see the headlines today about obesity in the united states? right now, 66% of americans are overweight, and 34% are obese. a study at johns hopkins predicts that by 2015, 75% of americans will be overweight, and 41% will be obese. obesity rates have doubled since the 1970s. what's changed? michael pollan argues elegantly that the farm bill, which subsidizes cheap, empty calories, is largely to blame. as the middle class crumples, the dollar doesn't go as far as it once did (and, now that i think of it, with both parents working full-time to make ends meet, who's making dinner?). from the pollan piece:
As a rule, processed foods are more "energy dense" than fresh foods: they contain less water and fiber but more added fat and sugar, which makes them both less filling and more fattening. These particular calories also happen to be the least healthful ones in the marketplace, which is why we call the foods that contain them "junk."... If you are eating on a budget, the most rational economic strategy is to eat badly--and get fat.

the organic movement is sometimes seen as "elitist" because organics cost more. you know what? 50 years ago, just about all produce was "organic," and affordable. and local. we're not exactly re-inventing the wheel here in the local, organic, good food movement. we just want to dissemble the shaky industrialized wheel that's giving us food that's lacking nutritionally, that's been shipped thousands of miles with fossil fuels, and puts small farmers out of business.

the 2007 farm bill is still working its way through congress. you can learn more about it here, and this seems like a very reasonable breakdown, and this blog has a clickable map so you can see which states get how much money. indiana gets a lot. that's not surprising. anyway, it's your bill, so feel free to tell your representatives what you think of it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

that isn't romantic.

when i lived in the pacific northwest, i associated cicadas somewhere in my brain with poetically romantic or languid summer evenings in steamy, exotic locales. i read a lot of novels. you know what? cicadas are loud. and big. and gross. and loud. just really loud. this bug is giving me a headache right now. no one's gotta mate with you this late, sir! give it up! but anyway. novels are falling by the wayside lately, as i delve more deeply into...huh. now that i think about it, i've been reading a lot of books by people who agree with me. must read some novels pretty soon to shake things up. next on the reading list: grub. anyone else read it?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

sustainable takeout

if i remember correctly, i've only made about two meals since last thursday, between going out of town, eating out for our anniversary last night, and tonight's time crunch. "hey! it's local food month! you're supposed to make more food yourself, you know!" that's true. and we'll get back to that shortly. but until then, here are some tips on how to eat out without causing too much pollution and waste. 1. eat at a locally-owned restaurant. they're more likely to use local ingredients, and like food producers, must be more responsive and responsible to local consumers. 2. ask what kind of to-go box is available before it's delivered. if it's styrofoam or plastic, ask if your leftovers can be wrapped in foil. tell your server why, too. (you can bring reusable containers from home, if you're not doing a fancy dinner. i wouldn't suggest you put a plastic tub in your little black clutch, ladies.) 3. bring your own supplies for to-go orders. napkins, silverware, even condiments if they're handy. 4. reuse what you can't avoid. every time i get plasticware, i clean it off and keep it in my trusty travel bag. fork tines suffer, but you can still get several good uses out of them. i've even pulled out my own plasticware at work functions. the styrofoam plate in my office has lasted for months, and is perfectly suited to catching muffin crumbs. 5. keep giving your business to restaurants that are environmentally friendly. tell them you noticed, and that you like it! 6. tell other businesses what they can do to regain your business. write a letter. send an e-mail. tell your friends who's responsive and who isn't. blog about it. speaking of which...we had burritos from *laughing planet tonight. man, what a tasty organic burrito, with local ingredients as possible! if only they didn't serve their salsa in plastic cups within the restaurant. i feel a letter coming on. *the orginal laughing planet is in bloomington, indiana. then the owner opened stores in portland and eugene, oregon. i think he sold the bloomington location, which is why it's not listed on this site, but it's very very similar to what you see there. the pdx nw 21st location used to be a garbonzo's, and that's where brian and i had our first date. awwww. love blooms over falafel. **edit: no impact man has a really great post this morning about not making trash. he makes it seem so easy. could it be that easy?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

local eating kentucky style

when in kentucky, do as the kentuckians do: enjoy some bourbon! my sweetie and i spent just under 48 hours in louisville this weekend to celebrate our second wedding anniversary (love you, baby!) and packed a lot of activity (and bourbon) into that time. if you're going to slugger stadium, don't count on a meal. my choice was between onion rings, a soft pretzel, cotton candy, or papa john's pizza for dinner. i should've gone for the pretzel and called it good. so our luck wasn't in for the food. we lucked out instead on the seats, right on the 1st base line, which we got for free from some nice folks who couldn't use them. thanks, friendly louisvillians! the brave louisville bats battled down to 10 innings, but the triple-aaa yankees team from scranton (ha ha - scranton!) beat them out in the end. booo! saturday morning we visited the famous lynn's paradise cafe. i say famous because a quick look at the website tells me her macaroni and cheese recipe was on oprah. that's famous. they were also on the food network's "throwdown with bobby flay," which i didn't know beforehand, but convinced me to have the "as seen on" bourbon ball french toast. zoinks! food network nerds beware. in kelley's perfect world, this would be served without the chocolate sauce and whipped cream, with less custard, and more berries. that would cut down on the richness and really be delicious...not that this was BAD. no. no. it was really good. just a little much. just a lot much. but unique! brian had the mushroom scramble. maybe i'm just chasing a french toast dream offered by studio one cafe in eugene, oregon. if you're ever in eugene, go with a friend and get the french toast for two. ooooooh yeah. after stuffing our bellies, we drove out to the jim beam "outpost" for a little education and tasting. later on saturday, we needed to cool down during a stroll downtown, and stopped into bluegrass brewing company. we'd had their bourbon barrel stout the night before, which was very tasty, but stout wasn't in the cards for a hot july afternoon. i had the pale ale and brian had the wheat. he didn't like his first sip, but it grew on him. mine i liked very well. reminded me a lot of mirror pond. we also had hummus and pita, served with green and black olives and roasted red peppers. delicious. this morning we headed down to bardstown road for our coffee and spent some time at highland coffee for coffee and muffins. all the pastries are made there, with vegan selections. my coffee wasn't spectacular, but the french roast ran out and i made do with guatemalan, which isn't my favorite. my cranberry orange muffin was sweet very orange-y. the service was very friendly, and the to-go cups had biodegradable sleeves. thanks for being responsible, highland coffee! what a fun short trip. louisville seems like a fairly happening place, and we'll be back in a few months, we hope, for a concert. and maybe drink a little bourbon.

Friday, July 13, 2007

easy iced coffee

it's hot. you like coffee. here's how to brew some old with just some beans, a mason jar, and your regular, plain-old coffee maker. 1. at night, grind enough beans for 12 "cups." when i say "cups," i mean the 6-ounce cups marked on your coffee maker. 2. add grounds to a quart-sized mason jar. add water for 6 cups. this should just about fill the jar. 3. let sit on the counter overnight. assure your spouse/roommate/lover that this isn't a compost experiment, but a tasty delight. 4. in the morning, put a coffee filter in your coffee maker. pour contents of mason jar into the top, and let it filter into carafe. 5. add 6 cups' worth of water to dilute. less if you feel feisty. or not feisty enough. 6. add ice to your trusty travel mug, pour filtered cold-water extract coffee in, and run out the door. easy, high caffiene, and delicious! it doesn't taste exactly the same as hot-brewed coffee that's iced afterward, but to me, it's better. enjoy!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

let's link!

there's a great post over at casaubon's book today about food preservation.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

come on, people!

aren't you super impressed at the picture below? no? am i the only one who thought that was really weird and cool? oh well. maybe someday i'll cut into a blue potato, and an outline of virgin mother will appear within. that could go for some money on ebay. quick culinary tip: want to freak out your friends with apparitions on toast? try spray-on butter! i would never recommend purchasing spray-on butter (which really sullies the name of butter; i prefer "buttery spray."), but if it's around... the weather was beaaautiful today. a storm blew through yesterday, and took heat and humidity with it. low 80's, low humidity, a nice breeze...perfect for eating lunch outside in the shade. about halfway through my potatoes and vegetables, i realized that i was enjoying a meal comprised of completely local produce. and it was delicious. i especially enjoyed the spinach, knowing it came from my garden. good for me! that's one more successful (if small) harvest from my community garden plot. so far i've grown: lettuce, basil, spinach, and about 2 strawberries that the birds didn't get to first. soon to come: sweet peppers and tomatoes. a couple of the sweet peppers are already about 4 inches long, and i can't wait. red peppers are just too expensive out of season, so i really appreciate their short time here. you know there's going to be some grilling going on. mmmm. roasted red peppers and portobellos, anyone? i haven't done a local food month dinner rundown for a while, so let's do that. we had a green salad with blackberries, then potato and vegetable saute with fake chicken (seitan) potatoes, garlic, zucchini, blackberries, onion: farmer's market spinach, basil, lettuce: garden seitan: made from scratch from bob's red mill vital gluten flour, which would have been local for me 2 years ago. i admit: it's hard to walk around the grocery store and see wonderful, delicious things from oregon that are out of bounds for local food month. but who needs delicious nancy's yogurt when you have homemade yogurt with fresh, sweet, ripe blackberries? my last yogurt batch turned out with an almost firm texture, and it's really delicious. could it be the different brand i used for the culture, maybe? it was lowfat brown cow yogurt, and i used whole milk. really fantastic.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

file under: strange but true!

this is what i found when i cut into a potato tonight.

what could be cuter?

puppies. that's what.

Monday, July 9, 2007

cajun monday

no, we didn't eat cajun for dinner - our neighbor just hosted a cajun music concert in his backyard. a peek out our kitchen window showed a bit of a potluck, people milling about, hot cajun fun in the summertime, etc. i don't love cajun music (indifferent, more like), but i love this neighborhood sometimes. so the other day i mentioned making a peach grunt, with absolutely no explanation. here you go. a grunt is like a cobbler, but its biscuit top is cooked on a stovetop. anything that doesn't require turning on the oven is aces in this house until september, but the grunt didn't turn out so well. my fruit-to-cobbler ratio was way low, and the biscuit part wasn't the peachy delight it should have been. the vanilla-bourbon ice cream was a bit of a bust as well. not sweet enough. we might have the rest with a caramel sauce to compensate. speaking of bourbon: honey and i are taking a short trip to louisville in the near future. any hot tips for travelers? especially food tips for vegetarian-friendly, budget-friendly fare? where should we get a mint julep if we don't want to go to churchhill downs?

Sunday, July 8, 2007

food? who needs it?

between a little stomach bug and the heat, food doesn't sound particularly interesting to me this weekend. last night as i wallowed in mild self-pity (it's a mild bug), it occurred to me that, sick or not, i'd have to go water the garden in the morning, or my brandywine would never forgive me. at that moment, i was glad i'm not a farmer. can you imagine getting up at dawn and doing hours of chores with the flu, because if you didn't, no one else would? yikes. lucky for me i just had about 10 minutes of work to do, and the cool morning air probably did more good for me than anything else could. and my tomatoes are happy. i was recently inspired by animal, vegetable, miracle to pick up a book from the library by the "cheese queen," ricki carroll, and now i can't wait to make butter. unfortunately, i just bought butter, so a little self-restraint is in order. fairly soon after i picked up this book, this article showed up in the new york times. ricki's recipe calls for a vigorous shake in a mason jar; the other calls for a whip in the kitchenaid. both i could do. ricki's sounds more foolproof, if more difficult physically. anyone out there make butter? suggestions? this could be dangerous. really good butter is like ambrosia to me. i forsee a lot of toast in the future. as for the cheesemaking, that will have to wait as well. it'll take about $40 worth of supplies to get started, plus shipping, and that's written into august's budget. bummer, yes, but The Budget must stand. and we must stand firm behind the budget. then we'll make cheese!

Friday, July 6, 2007

local links

want to see pictures of the new bloomingfoods? why, you can peruse quite a few right here. there's also a callout on isa chandra's blog (of vegan cookbook fame) for people in bloomington interested in vegan brunches. you into it?

Thursday, July 5, 2007


how sweet is local food month, now that the co-op has opened its new store one block away from my office? so sweet. that also makes it less than 15-minute walk from home, or a 3-minute drive if need be. yesterday i just walked around and enjoyed the opening-day atmosphere (free samples, lots of happy people), but today i had the great pleasure of running in for a loaf of oh-so-local bread. and maybe a cookie. bad thing: the bloomingfoods tollhouse cookie has entered a one-block radius of my office. and they're not encased in plastic wrap, so i have no moral compunction about grabbing one or two or three or four a week...no, not EVERY day. geez, i'm not a PIG. so, for dinner, it was sourdough toast points with tomato salad, and pan-fried potatoes and zucchini. all local except for the incidentals (olive oil, seasonings, balsamic), a little heavy on the carbs, but all delicious. i think i can wrap my brain around this local-eating thing now: you don't decide what you want and then go shopping; instead, you see what's available and then decide how to make it. speaking of tomatoes: my brandywine is looking a little worse for the wear. one side is wilted and yellowing, it was listing badly, and maybe half of the flowers have dried out. i read recently that that tomato starts can be planted up to the second tier of leaves, so i put a little mound of soil around the base to, hopefully, solidify its position and retain more water. we'll see how it goes. the cherry tomato seems very happy, so my brown thumb must have a green tinge to it. how's your first week of local eating coming along?

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

i have to work tomorrow?

it seems too much like saturday to go back to the office tomorrow. guess that also means i need to make lunches, huh? man. i'll tell you. we just went to see pirates 3, not being aware that this would take a 3-hour time committment. we still have dessert to eat! (don't tell brian, but it's a peach grunt with homemade vanilla-bourbon ice cream.) i have this things with secrets in the kitchen. maybe so he doesn't have time to form an opinion before we dig in? so, local food month. i'm trying to get into the mental swing of things. faithful readers know that chips and salsa are a requirement in this house. a quick perusal of the chip aisle told me that the brand we've been getting most often is the closest - made in chicago! not bad, not bad. that's within 250 miles. 240, to be exact, as google maps flies. tonight i made my first pico de gallo, which suffices as a salsa. why did i wait so long? why don't i make salsa all summer? there's no time like the present to start.

sure, the basil isn't really what anyone would call traditional, but it's fresh from the garden today, and basil + tomato = tasty in any combination. the pico de gallo ended up going really well with heavier flavors of grilled mushrooms and kidney beans in the burrito.

does anyone have any fantastic tips for cooking beans evenly? maybe i just need more than that one-inch covering of water. most of the beans turned out soft and delicious, but we found a few hard ones in the bunch. not inedible hard, but unpleasantly hard. tips?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

get sprouted!

do you sprout? sprouts are a fantastic food to make at home. many have full proteins, and are easier to digest than beans. a few years ago there was an e-coli scare, but your risk is about as high as it is when you eat lettuce, so, take that as you will. i'm not scared of a little alfalfa seed. or mung bean, for that matter. my first attempt at sprouting mungs failed, but i think it's time to try again. i think i just crowded the sprouter, and not enough air got in. mm, fresh mung bean sprout stir-fry. i use a system of two tops like this, that fit over a wide-mouth mason jar. one has a fine mesh top that holds in small seeds like alfalfa, and one has a larger top that allows seed hulls to wash away once sprouting begins. this isn't the specific brand i have, i don't think. the one i got was from the seventh-day adventist grocery in portland. man, do they like their sprouts there. jars and jars of different seeds and beans to work with. now i'm feeling a little homesick for grocery stores (hey, it happens. i used to live in a very rich area for grocery options). however! tomorrow, the newest grocery addition to my current neighborhood, the westside bloomingfoods, is slated to open. whaa-hoo! i don't need any groceries, but maybe we'll stop by anyway! it merits a lot of exclamation points!

how silly of me.

whoops - forgot to blog last night. sat down at the computer, started looking up guitar tabs, and got a little absorbed with learning new chords, etc. my fingertips are feeling it this morning. maybe it's all for the best though. suffice to say that last night's dinner was in no way picture-worthy (unless you were looking for a laugh), and involved one very experimental technique that failed stupendously. there is, however, a lesson to be learned there in re-purposing your failed experiments. maybe we'll talk about it when i'm not at work, unless i decide i want to forget the whole thing.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

local food month: it begins!

as i see it, there are basically two ways one can approach local eating. one: when doing one's normal shopping, choosing the most local selection when possible. i.e., eating from the farmer's market for your produce, and choosing the canned beans that were made 200 miles away rather than 1000 miles away. two: changing one's meal planning and diet to reflect only what's available within a given area. as the month goes on, i'd like to skew my shopping toward the latter. it's a whole new way of shopping, cooking, and eating, but i'm interested to see what we'd find and what we'd miss. it's hard to feel too deprived in july, so this is a great time to start. last night we did get somewhat decadent for dinner. first off, though, was a stop at the garden for a small harvest of basil and lettuce, and, of course, to weed. why didn't i think of growing sunflowers? they're beautiful, and the seeds are high in iron, fiber, and...fat. mmm, fat! maybe it's not to late to plant a few. these shot up like no one's business. my tomatoes are off and running as well. the brandywines' flowers hang down toward the ground, and fall off at the most gentle touch. one tomato seems to be coming along... come on, little guy! we can't wait to eat you! until then, it's farmer's market tomatoes for us. for dinner, we had a nice green salad, a puff pastry tomato tart with goat cheese, pasta, and seared basalmic baby squashes. oh yeah. the puff pastry was rich, delicious and decidedly non-local. the plan had been to make a tomato tart for an office party on friday, but, alas, that was not to be. (sigh. i lost my keys and couldn't get back to the office until after the party was over. that was a bad day.) it was lovely in larger portions for dinner. also, orzo with a lazy chef's pesto: chopped basil and grilled garlic with grated cheese. it didn't have that unctuous luxury of that pesto mouthfeel, but it was all for the better, anyway. there was plenty of fat in this meal without it. this morning, french toast with a brown sugar caramel peach sauce. really good. the trick is not to add too much sugar - that way, you're just enhancing the peaches, and infusing the sauce with a wholesome peachiness instead of a cloying sweetness. let's run down the localness of today's meal: bread: local (spring mill, indiana) milk: non-local. organic valley. eggs: local. last week's farmer's market. sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon: decidedly un-local peaches: local butter: non-local. organic valley. coffee: we ran out today, and the local roaster wasn't at the market yesterday, so not local at all. not terrible, but we can do better.